The Last Gasp of the “Pope Francis: Junta Collaborator” Crowd

As we’ve seen, the Francis attackers wasted no time claiming he was hand in glove with the junta, betraying priests and lying to human rights investigators. Within an hour of his elections, the denunciations started, based on thinly sourced Wikipedia claims that begin with words like “Some say…” Only problem: they have been proven massively and humiliatingly wrong.

What to do? What to do? Ah! Fish for an outrageously misogynist quote off the internet and circulate it in the hope that nobody will research its origins.


So now we arrive at the Last Gasp Strategy for smearing this fetching and lovely man: Go back to the junta thingie and start whining that he Didn’t Speak Out. The great thing about this strategy–as we have seen with Pius XII, who did Speak Out–is that if it turns out Francis did speak out, you can always complain that he did not Speak Out Enough.

I myself have no idea what Francis had to say during the junta since most of the literature on him is in Spanish and much of what the media has to say is filtered through people looking for dirt. It’s quite possible that he did fail to speak out (the first Pope certainly failed in that department). But right now we are living in a fact-free zone and don’t know that. But, as we have already seen, his enemies will say anything to fill the silence with accusations. Me: I’m content to wait till there is actual information. Meanwhile, I note what we do know: In 2000, according to a report in L’espresso, Bergoglio “asked the entire Church in Argentina to put on garments of public penance for the sins committed during the years of the dictatorship“. That is not, by any means, an acknowledgement of personal guilt in the matter. But it is an acknowledgement of pastoral responsibility for the cleansing of memory and willingness to confront sin. Of course, in our culture which excuses everything and forgives nothing, no mercy will be extended and the dig for dirt will continue. But I think he’s off to a fine start.

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  • michael

    ¡Viva el Papa!

  • Art Deco

    Has anyone suggested to these characters that ‘speaking out’ on political matters is not a bishop’s job except insofar as such utterances are a component of corporal or spiritual works of mercy? We have these people called ‘laymen’ whose job it is (now and again) to participate in civic life.

    • Brian Niemeier

      The secular media’s concept of the Church as a particularly stodgy humanitarian institution is so entrenched that they can’t process attempts to explain her true nature as a living divine reality. Look at the demands for Pope Benedict to “fire” bishops implicated in sex abuse cases. They even tried (and failed) to prove in court that the Church is a corporation with the pope as CEO and the bishops as expendable VPs.

      You echo a point that Mark has often made. Exercising civic authority is the laity’s job. That includes prosecuting pedophile priests and doing the nuts and bolts work of resisting oppressive regimes. The clergy do have a responsibility to help form the public’s consciences in political matters of grave moral vlaue. Ironically, many of those accusing Pope Francis of NSOE probably see no problem with accusing the USCCB of waging “war on women”.